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Data from the Consumer Driven Healthcare Summit

By Clive Riddle

The Third National Consumer Driven Healthcare Summit was held earlier this week in Washington DC, addressing a wide range of current key health care consumerism issues, with leading thought leaders and industry experts from around the country. Here's some interesting data shared by speakers from four selected Track Sessions during the conference:

Individual Health Insurance

Samuel Gibbs, Senior Vice President of Sales of eHealth, Inc.(parent of eHealthInsurance) gave a presentation on "The Online Individual Insurance Market - Perspectives, Experiences and Trends." EHealth represents over 180 health insurance carriers nationwide, which are available directly to consumer via their eHealthInsurance web site. Sam shared that eHealth's individual plan profile for 2007 was as follows:

* Average Age: 36
* Percent Male: 54%
* Percent Single: 61%
* Average Annual Premium: $1,896
* Range of Average Monthly Premiums: $83 to $388
* Average Annual Deductible: $1,971

Ann Ritter from the Convenient Care Association participated in a session on "The State of Convenient Care for 2009" and shared just released RAND convenient care data including:

* Patients by age breakdown as follows: under age 2 - 0.2%; age 2-5 - 6.3%; age 6-17 - 20.3%; age 18-44 - 43.0%; age 45-64 - 22.6%; age 65+ 7.5%
* 2.3% of patients were triaged to an emergency department or physician's office
* Among patients age 65+, 73.65% of visits were for immunizations
* Ten basic treatments and services accounted for more than 90% of visits

Paul H. Rubin, PhD, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics and Law, Department of Economics, Emory University, in a presentation on "The Cost Effectiveness of Direct to Consumer Advertising for Prescription Drugs" discussed findings from a study and paper he co-wrote with Adam Atherly of Emory University, in which they found during patient visits to their physician:

* 4% of patients schedule physician visits to ask about a drug
* 14% of patients discussed a concern because of DTC advertising
* If patients ask for a drug, 39% receive that prescription, 22% are prescribed a different drug, and 18% receive no drug
* 5.5% of physicians prescribed a requested DTC drug, but thought a different drug was better
* 88% of patients requesting a DTC drug had a relevant condition
* 75% who received the requested drug reported subsequently feeling better

Michael Vittoria, Vice President, Human Resources, Sperian Protection, in his presentation on "Integrating Wellness & Preventative Care into a CDHP" told us that Sperian, with 1,300 U.S. employees, adopted a self funded HRA in 2004, introduced HSAs in 2007 and introduced Wellness Incentives in 2008. Sperian currently has 56% of employees enrolled in PPOs, 14% in HMOs and 30% in the self funded HSA options. 34% of their 2008 HSA participants earn < $30k, 21% earn between $30k to $50k, 17% earn between $50k to $75k, 16% earn between $75k and $100k, and 12% earn more than $100k. Sperian conducted various wellness incentive programs during 2008, with their weight loss program yielding a BMI reduction in participating employees from 30.7 to 29.4. Sperian's overall medical cost trend from each previous year has been:

* 2004 - 11.7% increase
* 2005 - 4.5% increase
* 2006 - 3.6% increase
* 2007 - 2.6% increase
* 2008 - 1.8% increase

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